Your credit report is an essential document that shows lenders your creditworthiness based on your credit history. As such, you should regularly review your report and make sure there are no errors that could affect your score. You can get a free report every 12 months from AnnualCreditReport.com for your review. If errors are present on your report, dispute them! Errors in your report can lead to lowered credit scores, as well as your buying power.
To keep your information accurate and your credit score healthy, here’s how you can dispute errors on your credit report:
Dispute the information with the credit bureau
The first step to disputing errors on your credit report is to submit a dispute with the credit bureau; this could be Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. When you submit a dispute with the reporting company, they must investigate the claim. They will investigate it and forward all relevant documents to the company that supplied the information.
Remember to dispute with each credit bureau that has made a mistake. You will need to explain in writing why you think it’s wrong, including their dispute form and copies of documents that support your claim. Be sure to keep records of everything you send and receive.
The credit bureau has 30 days to investigate it.
Dispute the information with the business that supplied the information to the credit company
Next, you have the option to dispute mistakes with the furnisher that reported inaccurate or incomplete information. Furnishers include your bank, landlord, and credit card company. Like when disputing with the credit bureau, you’ll need:
- Your complete name and address
- The information you want to be corrected and why
- Copies of documents that support your claim
If you aren’t sure where to send your dispute claim, contact the company directly. If they find the information inaccurate, they must report that information to the credit bureau for correction or deletion.
If the error isn’t corrected, get a note of dispute into your report
If your claim is determined to be frivolous, the credit company doesn’t have to investigate the claim as long as it sends you a notice within five days saying that it has made such a determination. They also must give you the reason why the dispute was deemed frivolous.
Suppose the supplying company determines that your information is correct and doesn’t update or remove it. In that case, you can request the credit bureau to add a note in your report that you have disputed the information. This will be included in future reports.
If you suspect identity theft, report it immediately
If you review your credit report and suspect identity theft, immediately report it to the authorities. Suspicious information includes credit information you don’t recognize, like an unknown unpaid bill.
If you think your information is being used, go to IdentityTheft.gov to report it and get a personalized recovery plan.